Speaker Topics and Schedule

Nicholas Rust, owner and founder of RustyExotics Orchids, has a variety of unique talks to give to interested orchid societies. Feel free to browse below to find the current available talks and speaker schedules for the year.

Nicholas offers talks  in person or over zoom/online. Any month that says "Open" is still open for scheduling. 

  • Nicholas is an up-and-coming hybridizer in the orchid community. His orchid passion began in 2015 when a mini-Phalaenopsis was gifted to him. Like a flame to gasoline, this gift quickly pulled him into the diverse world of orchids. Shortly after his interests were formed, he began exploring the culture of several unique genera of terrestrial orchids. He now specializes in Habenaria and other related genera, jewel orchids, Australian terrestrial orchids, and Bulbophyllum. In 2019, this obsession bloomed into a small orchid nursery, RustyExotics Orchids, which he uses to share the wonders and beauty of his work.


    Through studying biochemistry and molecular biology during college, Nicholas approaches his orchids with the same scientific perspective he uses while working in a research lab. This led to an interest in the entire growth cycle of orchids and the start of his own hybridization program in 2018 which focuses mostly on terrestrial orchids, especially Habenaria. His aim is to use rarely cultivated species and distinct variations of species to create truly exceptional shapes and colors that will pave new directions for unique hybrids.

Available Topics

Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species

This talk is all about Habenaria hybrids and how they are made!
Featuring over 55 hybrids and 125 pictures, this a perfect talk for anyone, be it an expert Habenaria-grower or someone who have never heard of the genus before. It begins with a quick summary of the genus’ history and where hybridization began. Next comes a big dive into hybrids with emphasis on how individual species created the hybrids. This makes up the bulk of the talk and has loads of pictures, both species and hybrids. Lastly, we’ll finish up with a thorough discussion on Habenaria culture, placing a large emphasis on the “big-bad dormancy,” which won’t seem big or bad after we finish!


This talk is beginner-friendly but is very taxonomy-dense. However, you do not need to know anything about detailed taxonomy or orchids to enjoy it!


Run time: 60-80 minutes

The Wonderful World of Jewel Orchids

Are you a fan of any and everything "jewel orchid?" Do you like them but need a little extra help growing them? Then this is the talk for you! Featured in a 2020 American Orchid Society webinar, this talk strictly focuses on jewel orchid species and how to grow the many different genera that are classified as jewel orchids. Not only is it filled with detailed pictures of these plants' beautiful foliage, but it also places an emphasis on flowers, something that is often overlooked in jewel orchids.

This talk also has two versions: regular and the judge's addition. The judge's addition contains a small section on judging jewel orchids but excludes a few slides from the regular talk to conserve time.


This talk is a beginner-friendly talk that covers a lot of culture, so a piece of scratch paper might be recommended to those really wanting to get the most from it.


Run time: 45-60 minutes

Orchids: The beautiful, the unique, and the weird

This is the perfect talk for anyone just entering the orchid world or wanting to explore new, neat genera of orchids. It covers over 30 different genera, including common ones like Phalaenopsis and Cattleya to the lesser-known like Porpax and Coryanthes. It also includes a short section defining "what is an orchid" which briefly explains how the vast and bizarre variation of flowers could all possibly be orchids. Lastly, there is loads of cultural information and some "tips and tricks" to becoming an award-winning orchid grower.


This is a fantastic talk for any societies that have a large amount of new members or members who are wanting to expand into some different types of orchids.


Run time: 45-60 minutes

Coming 2025:

Several (at least 2) new talks will be available in 2025!

  • Artificial lighting and growing in a basement - Everything (simplified) you need to know to create a grow room of your own.

2024 Schedule


  • 3/10 - Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City: Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species (ZOOM)
  • 3/26 - Jonquil Garden Club: Orchids: The Beautiful, The Unique, and The Weird


  • 4/10 - Delaware Orchid Society: The Wonderful World of Jewel Orchids (ZOOM)
  • 4/14 - Illinois Orchid Society: Orchids: The Beautiful, The Unique, and The Weird

May: Closed

  • 5/4-5/5 - The Cotton Fair (Gay, Georgia)
  • 5/18 - Orchid Society of Minnesota: Orchids: The Beautiful, The Unique, and The Weird (ZOOM)
  • 5/19 - Orchid Grower's Guild - Orchids: The Beautiful, The Unique, and The Weird (ZOOM)

June: Open

  • 6/2 - New Mexico Orchid Guild: Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species (ZOOM)
  • 6/24 - South Metro Orchid Society: Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species
  • 6/29-6/30: The Southeast Plant Show (Lawrenceville, Georgia)

July: Open

  • 7/20 - Nature Coast Orchid Society: Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species
  • 7/22 - Gainesville Orchid Society: Habenaria: A basic overview of the breeding traits of species

August: Open

September: Open

  • 9/14-9/15: Special Atl Show?

October: Open

  • 10/5-10/6: The Cotton Fair (Gay, Georgia)
  • 10/?? - REO Open House (maybe)?

November: Open

December: Closed

2025 books are open! Schedule a talk now!